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I used to be Muslim -AMA

113 replies

Tiddlywinx · 16/09/2022 22:07

Born and raised Anglican, became Muslim in my early 20s after much research and having really enjoyed the academic side of Islam, now 10 years on, I’m ‘meh’, I wouldn’t say I’ve renounced it in a mic drop sense but I do feel apathetic.

I know this (leaving Islam) has garnered headlines in the news and it’s not that kind of post, I’m actually secretly hoping it might help me organise my thoughts, so AMA- I won’t hold back.

just to say, my experiences are just that, mine, and any negative ones I’ve had obviously aren’t universal and they don’t represent an entire religion/ minority community/
sect/ ethnic group.

also, please no takfiri death threats/ going to hell stuff, it will push me further from the deen and further some rather nasty stereotypes

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magma32 · 17/09/2022 00:07

yes sorry I was born into it and then unofficially left, it wasn’t even something I thought about just a feeling which then came back

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magma32 · 17/09/2022 00:10

Are there any other religions you’re looking into or feel more of a affinity towards, I can’t help feel all close knit religious communities behave in this manner but I feel I’d feel more warmth at a church than a mosque these days. Mosques seem to be interested in convert Muslims but any born Muslims questioning things are basically outcasts, they don’t really want to answer the questions as they think you should know better as you’re born into it. Ridiculous.

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5zeds · 17/09/2022 00:12

So basically you spent ten years as a small child then a decade being a Christian then a decade being a Muslim, do you think that’s just who you are? Better at starting than staying? If that was the real you what religion would you try next?

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magma32 · 17/09/2022 00:12

Tiddlywinx · 16/09/2022 22:28

One word, people.

the hypocrisy of so many so called religious individuals, just over time eroded my faith. I started to think, you know, maybe my interpretation isn’t right or correct becuase look at how all these people act. At first I’d comfort myself with how their interpretation is incorrect and religion weaponised to subjugate minority groups (other religions, women, lgbtq etc) and then I used to just get angry, but over time, it just wore me down to the state of meh I’m in right now

I can really relate to this, you spend so long defending it that they’ve got the wrong end of the stick and suddenly you just get put off almost like getting the ick.

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ValBiro · 17/09/2022 00:13

I'm an ex-revert too and am at peace with it in all ways now.

it’s very lonely I felt that too, in the end @Tiddlywinx . The community aspect of it was something that drew me to it in the first place, and then I realised I'd never be truly accepted. When my faith waned I wasn't going to be able to walk that path alone.

I have since lost all faith in a "god" in the religious sense, and feel no guilt or shame or fear... I just don't have that part of me there anymore.

I had it as a young Catholic, took a lot of shrooms as a late teen and lost it, regained it as a zealous Muslim revert in my early 20s and then it went again. Fickle, me! But what a journey! I think it has given me a much greater tolerance and understanding of people from all walks of life.

Worth mentioning that it's much much easier for a convert/revert to leave than someone born into it. Lots more baggage there and can be really damaging, I imagine.

Sorry to ape your OP!

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Jewel1968 · 17/09/2022 00:15

Why do you think so many humans buy into the notion of religion - any religion? Why do you think we organise ourselves in this way? Do you think on balance humans have benefited from organised religion or not?

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Blackmetalmama · 17/09/2022 00:21

Tiddlywinx · 16/09/2022 22:15

basically there are a few really good debaters, who debate apologetics (basically religious issues, or big questions) and I just love love loved watching the debates, it inspired me to do my own reading and then I used to go to the live debates and I found that there is or at least was, this movement of Muslim feminists, a lot converts and I just enjoyed it so much. But that looking back was position of substantial privilege.

islam, at its core is a lot more linear (not sure that’s the right word) than Christianity, more straight forward. There’s one god and prophets, that’s it, you did and there is heaven and hell. No priests, no confession, no central position of authority. I liked that

Which debaters would you recommend? I'd be interested to watch some.

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justasking111 · 17/09/2022 00:27

Born and baptism catholic because of all the rules stay a virgin, no makeup, no tights socks and hairy legs as a teenager at school not a good look. The hypocrisy. Joined an Anglican youth club . Loved the warmth was confirmed at 15. The older adults I discovered were no better than the Catholics hypocrisy wise. Gave up organised religion. I sometimes visit churches alone feel the peace within its walls. Try to live a good life, be kind.

I'm done with a lot of supposedly religious folks but find immensely kindness in humanity elsewhere

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Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 00:50

@Tiddlywinx yes im aware of the nouman Ali khan scandal and boy did that shock the Muslim community.
Maybe I'm too laid back but again I never expected any kind of greatness from him or from any other priests. Yes of course they should at least TRY to practice what they preach but iv never put them on a pedestal from which they can't fall.
Like @magma32 I too wasn't religious at all despite being born into it. In fact I did everything against the faith untill my 20s when I just couldn't quiten the urge inside me to question my existence. I researched all the main religions and then some.

Islam makes sense to me so I fully embraced it. It's by no means a linear journey but there's not an atom in my body that doesn't believe in God.

As for converts to the faith, I have seen the loneliness felt by them. Once the initial euphoria depletes I can only imagine how difficult it must be, especially since they often don't have that pre existing sense of familiarity with the Muslim community.

For what it's worth, I have a number of Muslim converts who are married into our extended family. I'm usually left in awe of their love of the faith and how much they embody it into their lives. But I guess the way they have been welcomed may have had some impact on that, who knows.

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justasking111 · 17/09/2022 01:00

New neighbours arrived three years ago he's Muslim she's Welsh. Two kids lovely family we thought. He is a bit sneery and boastful. She's had another two children hardly goes out her mum is helping out but has to work in the garden while the little ones sleep. Things have changed so much since covid he's worked from home. It's like a big black cloud over the house now. The children aren't allowed into a non muslim house to play with their own school friends.

He scares the mums to be honest

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magma32 · 17/09/2022 01:04

justasking111 · 17/09/2022 01:00

New neighbours arrived three years ago he's Muslim she's Welsh. Two kids lovely family we thought. He is a bit sneery and boastful. She's had another two children hardly goes out her mum is helping out but has to work in the garden while the little ones sleep. Things have changed so much since covid he's worked from home. It's like a big black cloud over the house now. The children aren't allowed into a non muslim house to play with their own school friends.

He scares the mums to be honest

Sorry what’s your point, plenty of non Muslim men like that too, just read the threads on here. And a white child told my son he was only allowed to play with Christians. Nice try.

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magma32 · 17/09/2022 01:12

@Thiswillpasstoo

in my experience the born Muslims or converts that tend to leave the faith or become disillusioned are the ones who have been traumatised in some way in the name of religion. Those that are welcomed and are generally treated well and experience the good side tend to be more faithful. Certainly from myself and other women I know, it’s usually due to double standards, misogyny negatively impacting us that puts us off. When I was 12 I just felt there was nothing after death, there were no negative faith experiences just a natural feel and kept the ‘morals’ I was brought up with just because i was never tempted to do otherwise, but in adulthood I have had many negative experiences amongst the ‘community’ which as much as I tried to defend wasn’t the faith, like op I became ‘meh’ about it as you become so tired. Not sure how to get back from that or even if I want to anymore 🙁

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 06:24

magma32 · 17/09/2022 00:10

Are there any other religions you’re looking into or feel more of a affinity towards, I can’t help feel all close knit religious communities behave in this manner but I feel I’d feel more warmth at a church than a mosque these days. Mosques seem to be interested in convert Muslims but any born Muslims questioning things are basically outcasts, they don’t really want to answer the questions as they think you should know better as you’re born into it. Ridiculous.

Not looking into any religions really, I do agree on the questioning thing, which for me is how I learn so it’s really frustrating. There is much more space for that in British Christianity at least, I say British because I think if you went to certain churches in America , you’d probably have a similar experience

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 06:29

5zeds · 17/09/2022 00:12

So basically you spent ten years as a small child then a decade being a Christian then a decade being a Muslim, do you think that’s just who you are? Better at starting than staying? If that was the real you what religion would you try next?

LOL. do you mean fickle?

no I don’t think it is ‘just how I am’ because you can’t help what you’re born into and exposed to, it was only as an adult I was exposed to different religions. The only time I could have claimed to be a practicing Christian was during my Sunday school childhood years, after that in my teens up until my conversion, I was apathetic towards Christianity because I didn’t believe in the theology. So it wasn’t a case of 10 years a child, 10 a Christian and 10 a Muslim.

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 06:30

Blackmetalmama · 17/09/2022 00:21

Which debaters would you recommend? I'd be interested to watch some.

I like shabir ally

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 06:51

Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 00:50

@Tiddlywinx yes im aware of the nouman Ali khan scandal and boy did that shock the Muslim community.
Maybe I'm too laid back but again I never expected any kind of greatness from him or from any other priests. Yes of course they should at least TRY to practice what they preach but iv never put them on a pedestal from which they can't fall.
Like @magma32 I too wasn't religious at all despite being born into it. In fact I did everything against the faith untill my 20s when I just couldn't quiten the urge inside me to question my existence. I researched all the main religions and then some.

Islam makes sense to me so I fully embraced it. It's by no means a linear journey but there's not an atom in my body that doesn't believe in God.

As for converts to the faith, I have seen the loneliness felt by them. Once the initial euphoria depletes I can only imagine how difficult it must be, especially since they often don't have that pre existing sense of familiarity with the Muslim community.

For what it's worth, I have a number of Muslim converts who are married into our extended family. I'm usually left in awe of their love of the faith and how much they embody it into their lives. But I guess the way they have been welcomed may have had some impact on that, who knows.

I’ve not put the likes of him on a pedestal either but my point is that behaviour and those actions are rife, love how he also said it’s ok to hit your wife if she cheats as a ‘one time thing in anger’, tariq ramadan is another, then umm Abdullah and hasanat there are just so so many in the public eye. Ali dawah when he sent an Internet mob after that 16 year old girl that was hula hooping and someone recorded her and put it online and she was getting death threats, and he brought her online to a pod cast to do a public apology… she was 16. Ali dawah (again) and Mohammed hijab how they went after dina tokio for removing her headscarf and again with the death threats. And also just death threats as a whole, why is this a thing so many Muslims are comfortable doing.

so that’s in the ‘public eye’ and then there are similar things I’ve witnessed personally In the community. ‘Religious’ men who’d stop my husband in street and tell him to get married behind my back to someone from ‘back home’ or better yet to divorce me without me knowing and keep me as a bit on the side and get married from back home, or the ones that shun our kids because of how they look, or the ones that told him prior to marriage to keep me as a prostitute and marry from back home… someone who’s been on hajj twice literally stopped him in the street and told him this.

it’s the older ‘aunties’ that would watch me to see if I’d make a recitation mistake in tajweed class and laugh, that wouldn’t let me sit with them at weddings and family events, it’s Stupid little rumours and gossip being spread about me, it’s generally being shunned or treated as lesser / an outsider.

then we’ve got the ultra conservative salafi movement, which in truth is the only movement open to converts, that doesn’t even permit saying happy x mas to your family or clapping and we know full well some of the interpretations of other things are hard to swallow

it’s from various facets in the community, although largely the south Asian community, so I think marrying into a more accepting family would help a lot, it doesn’t take away from the other things., but I think it would definitely cushion the blow.

point is it’s not people falling from a precarious pedestal because alas they are human, if it were I don’t think I’d feel as I do, to me it feels more substantial than that

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JustTheOneSwan · 17/09/2022 06:58

Are you 'out' as lapsed in your family?
Do your close circle know?
what was the reaction?

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UseOfWeapons · 17/09/2022 07:10

Thank you, OP, this has been really interesting!

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5zeds · 17/09/2022 07:12

@Tiddlywinx I really didn’t mean to offend you (and I didn’t mean you were fickle). I think some people thrive at the beginning of things where they are exploring and learning and beginning to trust and some are better once they are settled and maintaining beliefs and find getting to that point very challenging. I don’t see one as intrinsically bad and the other as good. After all while “slow and steady” is supposed to win the race we also know questioning and curiosity lead to progress.

Would it be so awful to be so awful to be someone who thrives on the journey not the destination?

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 09:44

JustTheOneSwan · 17/09/2022 06:58

Are you 'out' as lapsed in your family?
Do your close circle know?
what was the reaction?

My in laws, no way. They aren’t the type of people you could open up to anyway and they are a huge part of why I feel this way. The backlash would be huge
my family, no. Coming out as Muslim was awful enough, I couldn’t confess how I feel and why now, they’d love it and that’s not what I want.

friends, not really but I’ve spoken about the hypocrisy in the community and it impacts them too, I guess their massive difference is the family they married into

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Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 11:01

There's been quite a few female YouTubers who have been trolled for removing their headscarves. And quite frankly it's discraceful the way influential speakers have publicly spoken out against them.

My response to them has always been that, had the prophet used a harsh approach in inviting people to Islam would there have so many people embracing it? NO there wouldn't.

I have had to block some of my Muslim contacts because they also call out so called flaws in influencers on their social media. At the beginning I used to ignore it but eventually it made me uncomfortable so I would rather not see it.

maybe it's my mindset, my world view, I'm not sure but it's never (God willing) put me off the beauty of the faith. I suppose in my rational mind iv always believed in god's existence and that was way before I decided to follow a particular religion.

for me what's also important is where I have seen the good impact the faith has had. There's too much to list here!

But I have been able to balance my opinions (hopefully) because I have seen almost all of what you have described in your recent post.

The culture obsessed in laws, the men who have used faith to "put me in my place" (like that's ever gonna happen😬) The priests who have abused their positions when working with children, boys being treated like kings and girls not so much, the hanging of the head in shame when you give birth to a girl (sorry forgot to use my crystal ball) The "what will people say" every time a woman farts.

I can laugh about it now but it's tough when you are constantly reminding/teaching the community about the actual religion.

In a nutshell, there is one Qur'an. What has differed is the interpretation. Hence the salafis, Sufis etc.

I mean the prophets first wife was an entrepreneur, 15 years older than him, a widow, and PROPOSED to him. No one denies this. But not many would allow this either.



I have read and listened to work by Dr Umar faruk( a convert) and Abdul Hakim ( an Oxford graduate academic, also a convert) who can probably answer your doubts much better than I can!

Sorry, I forgot what question I was going to ask 🤔

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Tiddlywinx · 17/09/2022 15:19

Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 11:01

There's been quite a few female YouTubers who have been trolled for removing their headscarves. And quite frankly it's discraceful the way influential speakers have publicly spoken out against them.

My response to them has always been that, had the prophet used a harsh approach in inviting people to Islam would there have so many people embracing it? NO there wouldn't.

I have had to block some of my Muslim contacts because they also call out so called flaws in influencers on their social media. At the beginning I used to ignore it but eventually it made me uncomfortable so I would rather not see it.

maybe it's my mindset, my world view, I'm not sure but it's never (God willing) put me off the beauty of the faith. I suppose in my rational mind iv always believed in god's existence and that was way before I decided to follow a particular religion.

for me what's also important is where I have seen the good impact the faith has had. There's too much to list here!

But I have been able to balance my opinions (hopefully) because I have seen almost all of what you have described in your recent post.

The culture obsessed in laws, the men who have used faith to "put me in my place" (like that's ever gonna happen😬) The priests who have abused their positions when working with children, boys being treated like kings and girls not so much, the hanging of the head in shame when you give birth to a girl (sorry forgot to use my crystal ball) The "what will people say" every time a woman farts.

I can laugh about it now but it's tough when you are constantly reminding/teaching the community about the actual religion.

In a nutshell, there is one Qur'an. What has differed is the interpretation. Hence the salafis, Sufis etc.

I mean the prophets first wife was an entrepreneur, 15 years older than him, a widow, and PROPOSED to him. No one denies this. But not many would allow this either.



I have read and listened to work by Dr Umar faruk( a convert) and Abdul Hakim ( an Oxford graduate academic, also a convert) who can probably answer your doubts much better than I can!

Sorry, I forgot what question I was going to ask 🤔

I wonder if it’s not made you question your world view because of being born into the religion so it’s sort of all you’ve ever know, whereas for me, I changed my whole life, made my life far more difficult, dealt with so much fall out, lost friends and family members and in many ways made my life worse or at least substantially harder to become Muslim, and I can’t lie all the things I’ve seen and been exposed to have left me bitter and quite angry at my core so I do wonder if I was a better person before?
it might be me, and where I am right now, but I can’t really see the positives some of these people bringing to the table, i can see virtue signalling. You know some mosques that have a food bank but then also say there is no such thing as marital rape and ‘western feminism’ is the problem with women today 🤢.

I think there is a disconnect between contemporary Muslims scholars like the ones you’ve referenced who are often converts, there’s a lot of Muslim convert feminists too, and then the grassroots Muslim community. Ultimately when I was most content with my faith, I was working at a uni and associating with such scholars and I felt at the forefront really of progressive Islam, but now since having changed jobs, I can see that being part of the academic Muslim community is both a position of substantial privilege and quite far removed from how the vast majority of British Muslims or the Muslim community in Britain think, I guess. That’s like academia as a whole, privileged people removed from reality.

I guess, a question that i have for you, if you
dont mind (not that I’m holding you accountable for the problems in the Muslim community) but it’s something that i shed so many tears over and wondered, why do they hate me? Why does the community (Muslim at large, but specifically south Asian as they represent the Muslim majority in the uk) seek to convert people when they have such disdain for them, seek to convert them and then shun them? ( i know not everyone is in the SA community like this but, I just don’t understand)

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ClumpingBambooIsALie · 17/09/2022 15:36

Tiddlywinx · 16/09/2022 22:17

I think I feel apathetic general, maybe more of a deist than a theist now, but I guess on some days I could feel truly agnostic. It’s bad I know

My question is, why do you say "It’s bad I know"?

If you've come to this position honestly through your own thought processes, and given all the things you've said, what is it about being apathetic, a deist, or on some days agnostic, that made you want to say that?

Presumably when you became Muslim you didn't say "It's bad I know" when explaining to people that you'd changed your mind about things.

Is it a feeling of failure of some kind, an apology, worry about the consequences, a feeling of loss?

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Thiswillpasstoo · 17/09/2022 16:05

Despite being born into the faith I can confidently say that I didn't go anywhere near embracing it properly before I did my research. Prior to that I had a mindset of a "hippy" (cringe I know) and also lived like one.

My family gave me the freedom to do as I wanted as they weren't particularly religious at the time either.

Also, I looked into all sorts of faiths beforehand as I didn't want to practice something just because it was the "done" thing in my community.

I wouldn't say you were a better person before you became a Muslim. The fact that you are questioning things and are open to opinions and have an evaluative mind shows you still have a good heart.
You are a simply going through a tough time where you have been hurt by those who you trusted most. It's natural to be alarmed at your emotional response. We all have them

Of course, you can ask me anything. 😊

That's a tough question to answer because I will never know the intentions of those who hurt you.

I know that the South Asian community like to marry within the the same ethnicity, perhaps it's that? Its downright unacceptable not to accept someone of good character into the family simply because of their ethnicity.

Especially since the faith can't emphasis enough,the importance of character over everything else. The infamous last sermon of the prophet stressed how no white person is superior over a black person and vice versa and no Arab is superior over a non Arab etc.

What I can confidently say though is that, you have had an experience which I don't believe is typical. It's unfortunate that you feel this way and I hope you heal in every way.

There are numerous interactions I have on a daily basis with converts where they are not only welcomed but have fully integrated into the community. At the same time they have maintained strong bonds with their non Muslim families and that is something that has always been encouraged because it's that's how it should be.

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magma32 · 17/09/2022 16:16

@Tiddlywinx
i don’t think it makes a huge difference if you’re born or convert, truth is not many Muslims are willing to speak up if they have issues either the backlash from family/community or give the islamophobes what they want. Many leave quietly and play the game when needed. I’m glad you spoke up and I’m glad I can share my thoughts and relate with what you’ve said (as a born muslim) and as a born muslim it’s hard to find people question things unless you join the council of ex Muslims where born ex Muslims hang out. The born Muslims who often leave Islam often don’t come back because there is no support for that as we are held to higher standards (certainly if you’re a woman, boys will be boys however and we can give them more support and resources in my experience) and we are expected to tolerate more than a convert would as we are born into it and should be used to it. I think generally converts receive more compassion from Muslims because people know you could leave as easily as you entered and some people feel obliged to help prevent someone leaving the faith although that may not be your individual experience -especially as a woman, maybe a male convert would get more support of course depends on the type of community). I know men who are shit husbands but are always the first in line to show the convert woman how Islam gave women rights etc. and then when you don’t sing to their tune they either have the wisdom to help or because they went along with the novelty and the fair weather of it all that they then shun you.

i completely agree with that you say about the privilege side of things. Firstly I have become more ‘feminist’ in my views and you’re right there doesn’t seem much room for us because you will be silenced with “you don’t need feminism, Islam gave us rights bla bla” still stuck in the old days where Islam was definitely liberating for women in those places but times change.

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